Policies address extension services, DEA numbers

Board also approves items relevant to aquatic medicine, environmental issues, hospice care, military dogs
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The AVMA Executive Board, while meeting April 7-9, took action on dozens of items. Among the noteworthy items were new policies on veterinary extension services and Drug Enforcement Administration registration numbers. Other actions included revisions to the charges of the AVMA Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee and AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues, revisions to the guidelines for veterinary hospice care, and endorsement of a future monument to military working dogs.

Extension services

A new policy to encourage "Support for Veterinary Extension Services" received board approval, on recommendation of the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine, with the support of the AVMA Food Safety Advisory Committee.

The council and committee believe that veterinary extension services are in crisis as changes in funding and support at the state and national levels have eroded educational and outreach capacity. The council and committee recommended adopting a relevant policy to allow the AVMA to advocate for resources to restore the capacity of veterinary extension services.

The new policy reads as follows:


Support for Veterinary Extension Services

The AVMA recognizes the vital role of veterinary extension services in protecting the health and well-being of food animals and in contributing to public health and enhanced international competitiveness and supports optimal funding for veterinary extension services.

DEA numbers

A new policy to discourage "Inappropriate Requests for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration Numbers" received board approval, on recommendation of the AVMA Council on Veterinary Service and the AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents.

Each council has discussed incidents of pharmacies asking for veterinarians' DEA registration numbers before filling prescriptions for noncontrolled substances.

Dr. Patricia L. Wohlferth-Bethke, staff consultant to the Council on Veterinary Service, explained to a board reference committee that developers of software for pharmacies have added a data field for pharmacists to input a DEA registration number as an identifier, regardless of whether the prescription is for a controlled substance.

The new policy reads as follows:


Inappropriate Requests for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration Numbers

The AVMA does not condone the use of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration number for any purpose other than to provide certification of DEA registration in transactions involving controlled substances (to include obtaining, dispensing, prescribing and administering) as intended by the DEA. The use of the DEA registration number for identification purposes is not appropriate.

Aquatic veterinary medicine

The Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee's charge was edited to expand the group's role in advocacy and promotion of aquatic veterinary medicine at an international level, in addition to existing efforts at local and national levels. The changes also state that the committee should "promote education and training of paraprofessionals in aquatic animal health and care."

Aquatic veterinary medicine was among the myriad topics discussed during the April 7-9 meeting of the AVMA Executive Board.

The AqVMC charge still states that the group should develop strategies to improve and use veterinarians' expertise, recommend actions to protect animal and public health, identify existing and needed education and training programs, promote the availability and use of tools to prevent and treat disease, identify areas of needed expertise, and recommend actions to address emerging issues.

The AVMA will also partner with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation and the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association to give scholarships for veterinary students and new graduates participating in internships, residencies, continuing education programs, and research projects in aquatic veterinary medicine. The scholarship program was formed in 2010, and it has been overseen by the WAVMA Scholarship Committee, which screens applications and awards scholarships. The AVMF has received donations, administered finances, and distributed scholarships.

Under the agreement, the AVMA would help promote the program and identify potential corporate donors.

In 2010, the program gave seven scholarships ranging from $250 to $750 to veterinary students.

The board rescinded the 1999 policy "Guidelines for Development and Application of Aquatic Animal Health Regulations and Control Programs" and replaced it with the policy "Aquatic Animal Health and Disease Regulations." The AqVMC recommended rescinding the previous guidelines because federal and state regulators have implemented many of the original recommendations as well as taken approaches to health and disease that make the policy less applicable or suitable for future regulations.

The new policy advocates for uniform and standardized approaches to developing and implementing regulations involving aquatic animal health and disease. It also states that the AVMA will work with industries, states, and federal agencies on developing regulations, and it explains what conditions the AVMA thinks are ideal for developing such regulations.

Environmental issues

The Committee on Environmental Issues' new charge cuts the number of committee objectives in half, yet maintains existing activities without adding new ones. The changes were intended to combine and simplify the charges.

The CEI will also have its fall 2011 meeting at the Natural Resources Research Center in Fort Collins, Colo., instead of at AVMA Headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill. The change in location will allow CEI members to meet with staff members of the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, particularly those with the Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health.

Dr. Kinnarney
Dr. Joseph H. Kinnarney, District III representative, is intent on the proceedings during the April board meeting.

The Executive Board approved the new policy "CEI Roadmap for Environmental Leadership Priorities," which the CEI developed to help identify and prioritize the environmental issues with the most impact on veterinarians.

The policy states that the CEI should be a leader in addressing environmental issues affecting veterinarians and animals, and it provides lists of subject areas of concern for veterinarians, such as the interaction of domestic animals and wildlife, zoonoses, recycling and use of recycled products, carcass disposal, and the incorporation of the one-health concept into federal and state rules and regulations.

Hospice care

The board approved revisions to the AVMA "Guidelines for Veterinary Hospice Care" on recommendation of the AVMA Committee on the Human-Animal Bond.

The committee recently completed an extensive review of veterinary hospice services and authored the commentary "Elements of and factors important in veterinary hospice" (JAVMA 2011;238:148-150). In light of the review and the commentary, the committee recommended the revisions to the "Guidelines for Veterinary Hospice Care."

The guidelines now state that the AVMA "views veterinary hospice as care that will allow a terminally ill animal to live comfortably at home or in a facility, and does not believe that such care precludes euthanasia."

In addition, the guidelines now state that veterinarians who do not offer hospice services should be prepared to refer clients to a veterinarian who does offer hospice.

Military dogs

The board approved endorsement of the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument.

In late 2009, federal legislation authorized the John Burnam Monument Foundation to establish and maintain a monument honoring U.S. military working dog teams from World War II to the present. The monument will be located at Fort Belvoir in Virginia near the future National Museum of the United States Army.

The monument's design features a granite history wall. The monument foundation plans to include a statement on the wall about the health care provided to military working dogs by the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.